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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Appearances do not Match Opinions



"Oh," sez I to my guests, "You'll have to excuse the weeds all over the lawn, Leo did a really patchy job on mowing."

"Gee," sez I on the morning of the following day, "Leo is going from bad to worse here, I've never seen such a shabby job as on this lawn".

"Good gawd," sez I apologetically that afternoon coming back from a trip, surveying all the wood stacked by the barn,"You'd think Leo would get cracking on all those weeds rather than cutting wood we won't need in the summer."

Today, Leo walks in. My guests are all gone now. I had come home last night to a ready-to-be-lit fire. (It's freezing here.) Thought at the time: Oh here he goes sucking up to me for the sloppy lawn job.

"I didn't like to come in when you had all those people in and out," sez Leo. "You need gas and mix for the mower and the whipper snipper, but I managed to borrow a mower to get some of it done. And by the way I got that old concrete basket ball base out of the dirt on the driveway which you kept hitting with your tires. Took me most of the day while you were away in town but it's gone now. I borrowed a special crowbar for that and kept hammering away. Can we go and get gas and mix tomorrow?"

*Skulk* *Blush*


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The View from Here


View of the packed theatre from the 'gods' on Saturday night.

Wow.

I feel that my life, being quite surreal at the moment, needs a few days for it to drag my arse back down to earth and into normalcy, or whatever passes for that.

Talk of wildest dreams, dreams that I carried with me from about seven or eight years of age, being realized sixty years later!

So the play has now been performed in the city. Twice. To sold out audiences and standing ovations. Media coverage was amazing. Print, radio and television. I would have told you I was not good at speaking spontaneously. I proved myself wrong. I think this goes to the place where passion sits. Once we are passionate about something we can talk of it without preparedness or scripting.

The cast and crew were amazing, it is wonderful to see the characters birthed originally in one's spirit come to life in a professional, beautifully lit and 'sounded' environment where the acoustics are perfect. What a theatre!

A precious friend flew in from Toronto to offer her support and attended both performances. Daughter insisted on arriving a few days before to provide whatever I needed to keep the nerves and stress at bay. At such a time, I realized one really senses who one's dearest are. And words are completely inadequate to express how I feel about them. I could never have done it alone as the enormity was too great to comprehend and I needed their soothing presence, reality checks and outrageous humour. And we all realized that this was One Big Moment, never to be repeated in such a way again.

I'm still absorbing it all, still pinching myself, thinking there is be a play inside me, all ready to be written about the making of this play.








Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lighthouse Doctor





I had to visit my lovely doctor today, he thought I had pneumonia, I was beginning to believe him, being a bit dizzy. Hard of hearing too. You would have pitied me at rehearsal yesterday:

"Can you repeat that?"
"No, I'm not yelling at you, I can't hear myself!"
"The harmonies were a bit off? Oh, sorry, right."
"Oh, I'm just repeating her idea? Sorry."

Gives me a fresh appreciation for the gift of all my senses.

Anyway it turns out both my ears are infected quite badly requiring anti-bs and ear drops. Rather crucial it gets cleared up by the weekend, yeah? This script will do it, Dr. M says as he hands it to me.

Anyway, as he is wont to do, my doctor entertains me with stories as he assesses me.

1972.

He gets a ship to shore call from a lighthouse 2 miles off the coast telling him there's a patient in terrible pain who can't be moved. He heads down, as instructed, to the wharf to find an ancient oarsman and his dory ready to take him off across the rough seas to the small island.

My god, thinks Dr. M, the man doesn't look like he'll make it to morning never mind through tonight!

Dr. M offers to take one of the oars and the old man reacts in horror,

"No doctor will ever touch my oars. No sar. Your hands are for the healing!"

The oldster doesn't break a sweat on the arduous journey and pulls in at the small pier off the lighthouse. A huge Newfoundland dog bounds down countless steps and waits, panting.

"Follow her now, she'll take you to the sickbed!"

Dr. M followed the dog. Up and up and up. And there's a woman roiling in pain around the bed, her husband ringing his hands in sympathy and not much else.

Dr. M completes the examination and inserts a suppository and tells the woman she will be out of pain in about 15 minutes and heads downstairs where the lighthouse keeper offers him tea. In the middle of his tea there is a series of screams from upstairs and he bounds up, two steps at a time.

He bursts out laughing at this point in the story and gasping, regains control of himself.

"Swear to god," he sputters, "She must have been constipated for a month! A month I tell you! It even hit the ceiling!

"I laughed all the way back in the dory. I didn't wait to see yer man the keeper's face after he went upstairs to the wife! A month of Sundays would have to come and go to get the place cleaned up again!

"And the very, very best part, and this shows you the heart of us Newfoundland people right there, is that a few days later a fresh salmon was delivered to my door sent by the two of them!"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How Can I Help You?




Speaking of voices, in her comment, Grannymar triggered a memory of a time I worked a weekend job along with a full time job during the week.

Single parent, broke all the time, what can I say? Many of you out there were in similar straits I am sure.

I was hired for my voice, broguey as I now know it to be. The company ran an answering service for doctors, electricians, locksmiths, plumbers and road side assistance, etc. and - oh noes! - an escort service.

An answering service sounds so quaint now doesn't it in the IT world we all live in?

I worked there for over a year and before I worked my shift I had to make sure that I wouldn't need the bathroom for the entire 8 hours. Yes. Really. I could not let those phones go unanswered for more than 3 rings. No wireless enhancements to phone lines then.

Bonus points were my friends would visit and often bring their dinners and eat with me to relieve the tedium. (I've been so blessed with kind friends!). And I knitted. Boy, did I knit. And read. And study. And write. And never touch a drop of liquid for fear of, you know.

The escort service was the most interesting. I was a little naive in those days. I would never question the ads about escorts and 'dating'. I honestly thought that the clients would take the 'girls' out for dinner and have a nice chat over a cup of tea.

Well, the 'girls' gave me the straight dope on that. The majority were hooked on drugs. They would earn my whole weekend's pay-cheque for an hour's work and actively encouraged me to join them. Between 'dates' they would often regale me with stories of their clients and I admit to learning a lot about the travelling-expense-account men who would frequent these ladies. And what rate went with what. The finer points of A Sheltered Catholic Irish Girl's education. I could write a book or two.

Stretch limousines lost their allure for me when I discovered that often these vehicles were floating brothels. Some of the men did not want sex, which surprised me. They were often willing to pay for someone just to have dinner with them for a couple of hours. A few of the men calling in even asked me to have dinner with them in a public place after my shift was over and promised not to touch me or exert pressure to take it further. They just wanted a warm conversation as they were so far from home. So they said. I never put them to the test.

Looking back what I found the most poignant was the loneliness exhibited both by the men calling in and their desperate 'dates' calling out, looking for quick cash and using their bodies as trade.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I genuflect to my almighty higher power




Felled by virus
Unexpected.
Untoward.
Unwanted.

Ibuprofen
Knocks pain
Sideways
Sidelong.

Body yields to
Cold, hurting,
Ears deafened,
Succumbs to

Powerful microbes
Itty bitty
Invisible
Inscrutable.

Waiting.
Wasting.
Washed out.
Wivelling.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Scattered


I often think my meadow and its outbuildings and wood piles a work of art.


Very scattered. That's me. Too much on the go entirely. Trailing ribbons of tax work. Buying lovely linen cushions for the Tigeen and boring plumbly bits for its rainwater connections.

Interviews on newspapers, magazines and radio stations as an article I wrote on lack of broadband in the Newfoundland outports went just about viral. Phone ringing off the hook, journalists finding me on FaceBook, I can't believe how cool I am when faced with the press, and how very bloody Irish I sound.

Seriously. Right off the boat. I am shocked. I thought I had one of those sneery no-accent Dublin twangs going and would tell you that to your face as you turned to hide the snort. I should know better. I spoke at something a few months ago and a stranger came up to me and said "Tirty-Tree" (Thirty-Three) which is our secret handshake/code for "You come from Cork?". He was from Cork originally. We can't escape it I tell you. My lovely spoken English only existed in my head. All those years and years of fancy elocution lessons down the loo. My mother is rolling in her grave.

Meanwhile the play is on the windup to actual performances in Da City and elsewhere. So rehearsals, posters, promotions, oh-me-nerves outbreaks and press releases on the go.

It's all very exciting though as I buzz like some mad seanachie - I feel I've really earned the title with all that's going on - from one chore to the next.

Blogging will be sporadic over the next wee while.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

He said, she said.....

,


I don't know about you but I need to be reminded, and often, of the quality of the most obvious of things. Like conversations. With friends or family or whathaveyou.

I had one of the best conversations last week. A friend dropped in to chat, as he sometimes does. He says it's right aisy to talk with me. While I assured him that yes, I find it right aisy to talk with him too, for hours sometimes.

And I noticed when he left, I was uplifted, happier, more positive in my outlook. This was affirmed to me when he emailed me that night and said he felt twenty years younger and the only conclusion he could imagine was the fact that he had talked to me.

Now I am no guru and contrary to my avatar, not all that wise either. My own conclusion is this:

I am convinced that the best conversations are about ideas and dreams and personal experience and history.

It goes like this:

"Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people."

Now if I could be mindful of this in each and every conversation I have I would be truly wise indeed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Grumpy Geezer Gripes



Is it just old geezer me but do ordinary everyday table manners seem to have collapsed on the side of the road somewhere and died?

Or am I such an old fuddy duddy that I am attaching significance to something that is no longer of any importance to anyone but me?

Did high speed multi-tasking living just throw common courtesy under a bus?

And no, I'm not talking out of control children spitting up on strangers' tables in high class restaurants.

I'm talking about my generation.

For instance:

Talking with your mouth full. Yeah, I see that all the time amongst my friends. Hello? I do not want to see the semi-masticated contents of your mouth. Ever.

Eating your dinner once it is put in front of you without waiting for anyone else. So you are finished way ahead of everyone else and usually drumming your fingers on the table or, even worse, fishing off someone else's half-finished plate.

And if you're hosting a meal at your place, jumping up and answering your phone (while still chowing down) while your guests try and make small talk over the din.

Hitting your teeth with your cutlery while shovelling in. To me this is like chalk on blackboard.

Not using cutlery. Yeah, total finger eating which necessitates lots of used napkins piled up around the table. Not to mention the slurps and sucking sounds. And mixed drool on chin.

Hoovering through the well laid out platters on the host`s sideboard two or three times while assuring us all “you eat like a bird, whither this weight gain?”

Texting while having a meal with friends. Usually with hands under the table thinking you are being surreptitious and clever. No, you're not.

I was always under the impression that table manners were all about respect. For myself and others. And as there is so little respect in any walk of life - politics, religion - or to put them more succintly, the theomegacorporatocracy - couldn't we all just start off with respect around the table again?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Compassion



My blog friend Sparrowchat wrote of compassion yesterday. Or rather the lack of it in the USA as evidenced by Demz Wot Rulez. The "bootstraps" philosophy adopted by the privileged. As in:

If you're poor you must be at fault, you lazy arse good for nothing. Pull up those bootstraps! And if you did there would be a pizza empire and ten cars for everyone!

Well you know I don't see a lack of bootstraps in anyone I know who find themselves poor, out of work and sick. And at least, for now, in Canada, we don't have to worry about funding the sick part.

I know a man who drives the school bus here and he was felled by a stroke on Tuesday. Still in hospital. A fund raiser has been organized to support his wife and kids while they await his Employment Insurance payments. Compassion.

My cleaning lady has a recently injured back but as her husband is unable to work (just about lost his hand and his brains in a terrible accident last year)she is back at it, telling me her hydro is going to be cut off and could I pay for a few cleaning sessions in advance to bail her out of the hole? Compassion.

Another friend who is cash impacted because of the theatre trip to Ireland and needing spending money and a few extras has set about gaining this extra funding through painting jobs for friends and family. She is 67 years old. Bootstraps.

Lacking education and a professional career through no fault of their own, people make do as best they can. But the basic safety net has to be provided. A true measure of a civilized and caring society is how we take care of the neediest. For the majority are not lazy and indifferent.

But the ones who are, we know where they live, right?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Inside Job





'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend that you do.

Matt Damon narrates and does a marvellous job. Once I started watching I saw it right through to the finish. It simply and clearly reaffirms all that I've been thinking for the last twenty years. The greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. All under our noses. And it continues.

Monday, May 07, 2012

A Death in the Outport.




You asked about Carrie's husband Jack? Well, it was awful. The kids came home from school and there he was in the bedroom, bloody bits stuck to everything, walls, ceiling, floor, bed. He blew his brains out. Thirty-seven years old. A gambler and a drunkard.

Carrie's husband Jack? You saw the grave? We had a card party and raised nearly $6,000 dollars, paid for all that black marble and the photos. Expensive. But it helped the widow. Only thirty five and three children to raise. But all the money went on the grave.

Jack, Carrie's husband? Yes, eight years ago now. Not much of a loss. He kept getting fired even from jobs that never fire you. Know what I mean? Drunk by breakfast every day.

Poor Carrie, trying to hold it all together working at the fish-plant when the kids were small while Jack spent every bit of it on booze and VLTs. Awful life.

Jack was tortured, poor fellow. What with Carrie carrying on with his brother Vinnie for the six months before Jack finally took his own life.

We still can't get over it. There was Jack, a ball of blood in the bedroom and all the neighbours had come into the house when they heard and there they were sitting in the kitchen as if it was some kind of party with all the bottles laid out like soldiers on the table. So the ambulance comes and they have to wait for the cops, can't touch anything as he is so dead that his face was gone off him. And the party got louder and louder. No respect. And then the cops when they got there sent everyone home.

The hard thing was, is that Carrie's story kept changing. From one day to the next. First she was with him in the kitchen when he went off to the bedroom with the gun. Next day that was changed to she was next door and heard the gunshot. And the following week she said she's been off over to her mother's at the other side of the bay when he did it. The cops said it was shock, but, who knows?

What I meant was, I think she put him up to it. No, no I can't see her shooting him in the face and they have tests for that kind of thing, right? But she made him. As God is my judge.

I remember seeing Carrie at the grave, her red hair flowing down her back, and looking like a movie star with her aunt's black hat on top of it. And I saw a bit of a smile on her. A small one, you'd hardly notice. And I thought to myself, she's enjoying this. She's enjoying the attention.

After all, how much attention does anyone get out here unless you create it for yourself?



Sunday, May 06, 2012

Hallelujah!




Thank you for all your kind comments and personal emails. Wow, I am so lucky to live in Blogland!

I was at a meeting a week or so ago, where the topic of anger came up. Anger, a fairly useless emotion, is just the mirror side of depression. Often when someone is depressed, anger will be exhibited, masking the more authentic emotion. I witnessed that in my family of origin.

Well, to make a long story shorter, I had finished posting here yesterday, feeling at sixes and sevens, when that meeting came to my mind and the solution to anger had been presented:

Action Plan. Determine. Follow Through.


What was my Action Plan apart from ranting and raving and allowing the black dog into my living room?

What could I do? OK. I looked up the head office address of Bell Aliant. And went a-calling. It was Saturday. I was the only customer with 3 service reps.

Bottom line, they produced a hub. Brand new improvement to cellular highspeed, they assure me. I was entitled to a free upgrade and two months free service. The hub would provide wireless high speed for up to 5 computers.

Disconnects? No service for days? A thing of the past, the triplets assure me. If I'm not over the moon happy, the triplets again assure me, I bring it back. No questions.

Cynical and jaded I leave. I am so unexcited about this whole experiment that I take a nap in front of the fire that Leo has so kindly laid down in my absence, once I get home.

Then, yawning, I set up the hub. You wouldn't believe how easy. Something this easy has to go sideways. Hardy-har. Wireless internet all over my old house as the triplets had envisioned for me? Dream on, baby!

Action plans can result in dreams becoming reality. This hub - kiss, kiss - has given me unbroken and powerful high speed. For the first time ever out here at the Edge of the Atlantic.

As I type this on my netbook in front of the fire I feel I can shrug off the slithering remnants of depression and shoo the old BD out into the May sunshine.

The world, my friends, is full of fresh possibilities.


Saturday, May 05, 2012

Blog Jam


(1) I've had a horrendous tax season mainly due to the unpredictability and/or unavailability and/or disconnectivity of my cellular internet connection and how much I desperately need it even for Taxware updates which are no longer provided on CDs and necessitate a high-speed connection. Not to mention e-filing.

(2) Moving into another business venture here I realized how absolutely slow-brained I can be. Well, duh, I need highspeed for that too.

(3) All of which gives me enormous doubts as to whether I persist in staying on here. Seriously.

(4) I have exhausted all political avenues and even the newspaper - which has always published me heretofore - now no longer publishes my rants of frustration on the lack of even the most basic business infrastructure.

(5) On a slightly lighter side: Other opportunities present themselves. This week I was asked to hold the auditions for a dinner theatre in another area which was a wonderful experience.

(6) I feel I'm becoming a one-note samba with my incessant and constant rant on the lack of high-speed out here on the Edge of the Atlantic which has me driven to distraction and

(7) A horrible depression preceded by the Black Dog which refuses to leave.

(8) It's not just the internet it's other bitty things which added up has me sourfaced and pissed off. Example?

(9) A guy I don't particularly like or respect reverses his truck onto my property when I wasn't there and just about lops off the roof of my pump-house, completely disconnecting it from the walls. He shrugs his shoulders when I ask him what he's going to do about it. He is clueless and penniless. When I asked him what he was doing trespassing on my property in the first place he also shrugs and mutters about picking up some plastic from Leo.

(10) With no internet in my house in the last couple of days I am in town at Starbucks on my little netbook. I would like to patronize Coffee Matters which is privately owned but the hefty parking ticket from the church parking lot across from it (on-street parking nearby is by permit only) is a complete deterrant.

Signed:
The Grumpy Geezer.

And PS apologies to some of my regular commenters - New Blogger decided all by itself to throw you into the Spam Bucket. Thanks to Ramana for bringing it to my attention!!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

May Snow


May Snow



So you talk about the weather and you say
They'll be a May snowfall.
Always has been
Always will be.

My daddy told me for his daddy told him
And all the way back
That come May
And only in May

We put this sacred secret snow
In a bottle,
And if anything
Happens to your eyes

During the year that follows
You take that water in the bottle
And bathe your eyes.
And you never go blind.

Never.